“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”
“Any variation from the health has a cause, and the cause has a location. It is the business of the osteopath to locate and remove it (the cause), doing away with disease and getting health instead.”
Dr Andrew Taylor Still, MD DO, Osteopathy Research and Practice
?WHAT IS OSTEOPATHY
Osteopathy is a hands-on approach to diagnosing, treating and preventing musculoskeletal
conditions. It recognises the body’s inherent capability to heal and aims to assist this natural
process through various methods, including soft tissue massage, gentle joint movements
(mobilisations), joint manipulations and muscle stretching.
A unique aspect of Osteopathy is the emphasis on treating the person, not the symptoms.
Osteopaths take into account a person’s full medical history, as well as current symptoms,
and after a thorough assessment will reach a diagnosis. Treatment aims to restore a person
back to optimal health and well-being, not merely remove symptoms. Giving advice about
activity and rehabilitation helps to continue improvements made through treatment
and prevent problems from reoccurring.
In order to work in the UK, Osteopaths have to be registered with the
General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). The GOsC ensure high standards are maintained among
Osteopaths through continued professional development and keeping a register of individuals.
WHO IS OSTEOPATHY SUITABLE FOR?
Osteopathy is suitable for people of all ages because treatments are tailored to the individual. Osteopaths take pride in the fact that they are often a trusted healthcare professional for many generations of the same family. Similarly, Osteopathy can help with both acute injuries and long-term (chronic) conditions.
WHAT CAN OSTEOPATHY TREAT?
The most commonly treated conditions are:
Hip and knee osteoarthritis (with exercises)
Joint pains/generalised aches and pains
Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
Frozen shoulder associated with neck/back problems
Minor sports injuries and tensions
Tennis/golfers elbow associated with neck/back problems
Uncomplicated mechanical neck pain
OSTEOPATHY AS AN ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSION
In 2017, osteopathy joined the group of Allied Health Professions (AHPs) in England. Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, explained “the priority is to ensure we realise the full potential of all fourteen professions to contribute to prevention and health promotion, improving outcomes and patient experience, increasing capacity and improving cost-effectiveness.”
Osteopaths becoming AHPs shows the increasing recognition of osteopaths as healthcare professionals able to work with other practitioners to provide a high standard of care for patients. Importantly, people can self-refer to see an osteopath, therefore receiving an assessment and treatment swiftly, but osteopaths are able to refer to GPs if osteopathy is not appropriate or if investigations are needed. You can read more about AHPs at the NHS England website.
WHAT EVIDENCE IS THERE FOR OSTEOPATHY?
The National Council for Osteopathic Research was established in 2003 to carry out independent research into the efficacy of Osteopathy. The website provides plenty of information for patients and Osteopaths about recent research findings.
The General Osteopathic Council explain “all UK-registered osteopaths and final year osteopathy students have access to a range of research journals through our dedicated website for osteopaths, the o zone. The aim of providing this resource is to improve research awareness amongst osteopaths and encourage evidence-based practice.”
The first visit can last up to an hour. Firstly, a case history will be taken to understand current symptoms, as well as your medical history to ensure it is safe to treat. You will then be asked to undress down to your underwear for an assessment using medical tests often used by doctors.
If you will be more comfortable, please bring shorts to wear for the examination and chaperones are always welcome. Please note, for patients aged under 16 years, a parent/guardian will need to be present in the treatment room at all times.
Following the assessment, Zoë will explain her diagnosis and her plan for treatment (if appropriate) and then begin treatment if you are happy to proceed. She will usually give advice about exercises to do and things to avoid in order to continue your improvement following the treatment.
It can be helpful to bring a prescription list and results of any investigations you have had to the first appointment.
Treatments last 30-45 minutes. After a catch up on progress since the last visit, Zoë will do a short reassessment and continue treatment. Treatment can include soft tissue massage, gentle joint movements (mobilisations), joint manipulations and muscle stretches. At the end, Zoë will check exercises given previously and give more advice if needed.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me: